Paul Parks

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Paul Parks
Born May 7, 1923[1]
Indianapolis, Indiana[2]
Died August 1, 2009[3]
his Mattapan home[3]
Residence
Occupation Engineer/Secretary of Education [4]
Spouse(s) Virginia Loftman[5]


Paul Parks was the first African American Secretary of Education for the state of Massachusetts. [6] Parks was appointed Secretary of Education in December 1974 until 1979 by Massachusetts Governor Michael S. Dukakis.[5] Former Mayor of Boston Raymond Flynn appointed him to the first school committee in Boston.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Parks attended Crispus Attucks High, an all-black school, in Indianapolis. Parks was in a gang and then met Frederick A. Parker, the head of the math department at his high school. Parker saw a talent in math and helped Parks get accepted to Purdue University.[7] He organized a campaign to allow African American people to live in the dormitories.[7] Although he was labeled a troublemaker for his actions, his campaign did have an effect as the university began to let African American women into the dormitories.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Parks married Dorothy with whom he had two children after the couple moved to Boston, Paul Jr and Pamela Dee. Parks later married his second wife Virginia Loftman and gained a step daughter in Stacey Parks Townsend. He also had four grandchildren, Alexandria Ross Parks, Victoria Rose Parks, Paul Parks III, and Evan Joy McLaurin.[5]

Military service[edit]

Parks served with the 365th Engineer Regiment from 1943 to 1945.[8]

Parks did not want to participate in the war against Germany because he wanted to finish college. After the war he went back to Purdue and graduated.

Paul Parks and Associates, Inc[edit]

Parks childhood dream was to become an engineer. After graduating from college several companies showed interest in hiring Parks but turned him down once they found out he was African American.[7] He was hired by Stone & Webster, an engineering firm in Boston. Parks and his wife Dorothy moved to Boston that weekend. In 1957, Parks and a business partner opened their own engineering firm, Paul Parks and Associates, in Boston.[7] Parks and his partner struggled to keep the business afloat in the beginning and were in a lot of debt to the U.S. department of labor from December 1993 to January 1994. He could not pay people to work for him so he did all the work with his partner. Paul and his partner do not have any assets of real estate to offer. They also have not been taking a salary for a year.[9]

Projects:

  • Hazel Parks Estate [10]
  • Project 747/Franklin Field South Neighborhood (1989) [11]

Activism[edit]

The greatest obstacle in Parks's life was battling racism and how overcoming it has given more meaning to his accomplishments in the private and public sectors. He decided to leave the academic committee when he was 71 years old to focus on helping troubled young people in Boston's inner city turn their lives around. Those who worked with him only have good things to say about him as an activist.[12]

He was a president of the Boston NAACP.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Echos and Reflections" (PDF). Iwitness USC. 
  2. ^ "Echos and Reflections" (PDF). Iwitness USC. 
  3. ^ a b c "Paul Parks, leader in city's schools, dies". The Boston Globe. 
  4. ^ a b c d BostonTAB, p.1.
  5. ^ a b c "Paul Parks, state, city education official; 86 Paul Parks, state, city education official, dies at 86". Boson Globe Archives. 
  6. ^ BostonTAB.
  7. ^ a b c d e BostonTAB, p.14.
  8. ^ Phyllis R. Klotman. "Military Rites and Wrongs". In Klotman, Phyllis R.; Cutler, Janet K. Struggles for Representation: African American Documentary Film and Video. Indiana University Press. p. 52. ISBN 978-0-253-21347-1. Retrieved 27 April 2016. 
  9. ^ PPAReport.
  10. ^ HazelParks.
  11. ^ FranklinSouth.
  12. ^ BostonTAB, p.15.

Bibliography[edit]

  • Blake, Scott (1994), "New Mission Takes Paul Parks From The Schools To The Streets", The Boston TAB, Northeastern Archives and Special Collections, Box 44, folder Paul Parks certificates, newspaper clippings, and letters, Z10-026, Northeastern University Libraries, Boston, MA., pp. 1, 14, 15 
  • Paul Parks and Associates (1993-06-28), Paul Parks and Associates Business Information Report, Northeastern Archives and Special Collections, Box 3, folder PPA, Z10-026, Northeastern University Libraries, Boston, MA. 
  • Paul Parks and Associates (1993-06-28), Paul Parks and Associates Business Information Report, Northeastern Archives and Special Collections, Box 2, folder Hazel Parks, Z10-026, Northeastern University Libraries, Boston, MA. 
  • Paul Parks and Associates (1993-06-28), Paul Parks and Associates Business Information Report, Northeastern Archives and Special Collections, Box 3, folder JOB:Franklin Field South, Z10-026, Northeastern University Libraries, Boston, MA.